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Red-shirts promise no confrontation

Posted by Rattana_S On November - 18 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The United Front for Democracy which is bringing 30,000 red-shirt supporters to Bangkok this week promises that they would not embark on actions that would lead to the confrontation with anti-government protesters.

Anuwat Thinnarat, chairman of the group, said that all the red-shirts would gather in peace at the Rajamangala stadium during November 19-20.

They will not leave the stadium or go near the Democracy Monument where anti-government protesters are, he said.

However, he said that on November 20, the red-shirts would move to the Constitutional Court on Chaeng Wattana Road, to observe the Court’s ruling on the senator-related case.

Anuwat said that the red-shirts wanted to just observe the ruling, without any intention to put pressure on the Court which should have liberty in its deliberation.

The group plans to mobilise 30,000 red-shirts. Leaders in 20 Northeastern provinces are told to prepare buses for the supporters, Anuwat said.

Reds, govt put differences behind

Posted by Rattana_S On November - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Rallies planned in different parts of nation to counter anti-amnesty move

The ruling Pheu Thai Party and the red shirts plan to put aside their differences over amnesty in order to consolidate their strengths in fighting off their opponents.

“Under the circumstances, infighting should stop so we can face outside threats,” Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar said in his Facebook message yesterday.

The red shirts and the coalition lawmakers plan to hold a series of rallies aimed at countering the anti-amnesty protesters.

Nuttawut called for unity among government supporters for what he said was “the fight to safeguard democracy”.

The red shirts are expected to kick off their own political rally at the Supachalasai Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

The red shirts will organise another nine stages around the country.

This week, they would launch five stages and start tomorrow at Supachalasai Stadium, from Monday to Friday at Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani and Chon Buri.

Red shirts from Pathum Thani have already organised a public meeting to air their support for the administration and have distributed flyers attacking Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and MP Suthep Thaugsuban for attempting to unseat an elected government.

Meanwhile, former legislative leader Meechai Ruchuphan has called on the government to heed the people’s voice. He warned that the situation would worsen if it used force against the people.

“The government is facing a tough situation and the use of force would lead to chaos and tragedy,” he said.

The government should think and act quickly on pacifying the protesters and the best way is to engage the opponents in talks, he added.

Green Group coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said he suspected the government had made a tactical retreat in the legislature in order to launch an offensive campaign to fan pro-amnesty sentiment.

The government, he said, had not really abandoned its push for blanket amnesty, arguing that the red-shirt rallies were designed to fan sentiment before the next round of debate in the legislature.

“Yingluck Shinawatra, the first female prime minister, has shown her true colours as a leader – willing to pitch the people against each other,” he said. He said that relevant parties should turn the political movement – as evidenced by the number of people pouring onto the streets – into a constructive opportunity to bring about reforms.

Protesters, led by the Students and People Network for Thailand’s Reform, are still camped out at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge, near Government House, despite rumours of a possible crackdown.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Lt-General Kamronwit Thoopkrajang said police were not planning to disperse the crowds.

Police forces were instructed to keep protesters away from restricted areas, he said.

Secretary-general to the PM, Suranand Vejjajiva, said he was concerned that prolonged protests could tarnish the country’s reputation. Should rally organisers drag on protests until Monday, coinciding with the International Court of Justice’s ruling on Preah Vihear, it would not bode well for the country, he said. He urged Suthep to end the protests.

Regarding the red-shirt rally, he said the government was obliged to allow people to air their opinions. Police would be in charge of enforcing law and order to prevent confrontation between opposing sides, he said.

He warned anti-amnesty protesters not to fall prey to the ploy to unseat the government. Should the situation escalate, the government would have no choice but to carry out strict law enforcement, he said.

Amnesty opponents to rally nationwide

Posted by Nuttapon_S On November - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Pheu Thai to meet today to plan strategy as red-shirt group to hold ‘10,000 up’ rally at Ratchaprasong

Yingluck Shinawatra’s government is walking a tightrope as opposition against the Amnesty Bill has now gained momentum with various groups, including the Democrat Party and many red shirts groups who formerly supported her, openly launching their campaigns to tear down the explosive draft law.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party, meanwhile, will convene a meeting today to discuss on measures needed to address the tense situation.

The Democrat Party has staged its rally against what it calls the “whitewashing law” in Bangkok’s Samsen Area for days already. Now, it has encouraged the like minded to join its movement.

“We are pleased to welcome all demonstrators who are against the Amnesty Bill,” Bangkok Democrat MP Ekanat Prompan said yesterday.

The Democrat Party’s rallies against the controversial bill have now spread to various other provinces as well. A number of demonstrators, for example, yesterday attended the rallies in Phuket and Surat Thani.

Somkid Lertpaitoon, Rector of Thammasat University said law academics, lectures, students and officials in the university expressed their opposition to the amnesty bill as it was unconstitutional and against rule of law. The group of 578 academics of the university who signed a petition said they were worried about the conflict in the society. They urged parliamentarians to stop their effort to pass the bill into the law.

Chamlong Srimaung, former leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, led his protesters under People’s Army against Thaksin regime from Lumpuni Park to join the group of student and people network for Thailand reform at Uripong insection in their protest against the amnesty bill.

A red shirt leader Sombat Boon-ngarm-anong will organise the “10,000 Up” rally at the Ratchaprasong Intersection to denounce the Amnesty Bill. The bill was unfair and unjust for the red-shirt protesters who died in the crackdown since responsible persons were granted amnesty, he said.

Thida Tavornset leader of Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship said a group of some 3000 red shirt would come to Bangkok for a training at Don Muang Technical College and they have liberty to join the protest against the bill.

Police warn protest leaders to move cautiously, as they will be held responsible for what happen.

“Protest leaders must be aware that they must be ready to take responsibility for any consequence,” Police Spokesman Maj General Piya Utayo said yesterday. He is also the spokesman for the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (Capo).

He said police were now quite worried about the growing possibility that the opponents to the bill would be marching to various venues in Bangkok.

“The marches will affect Bangkok’s traffic. They also raise the possibility of confrontations with people who think differently,” Piya said.

Capo’s deputy spokesman Maj General Anucha Ramayanantana said National Police Commissioner General Adul Saengsingkaew had instructed all police units to closely monitor the rallies both in Bangkok and in provinces.

National Security Council secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabut, so far, said there was no need to invoke the Internal Security Act to control the situation at the moment. He suggested that the turnout at rally sites was not really that huge.

Democrat Party’s deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot said his party would work with all people’s networks to stop the Amnesty Bill.

“With the legislation of this bill, the government is destroying the good governance and good principle in the country. If the bill is passed, corruption cases between 2004 and August 2013 will be dropped,” he said.

Alongkorn said the Amnesty Bill, if legislated, would run against the UN Convention against Corruption that Thailand had ratified.

“Thailand’s credibility will suffer badly then,” he said, “The country can’t give amnesty to the corrupt. Otherwise, the corrupt will keep doing the wrong things. They will think only by acquiring state power, their wrongdoings will be nullified”.

Alongkorn said the Democrat Party, in collaboration with allies, would hold various rallies to inform people of what the Amnesty Bill would bring.

According to him, the rally will be held in Phetchaburi today, in Trat tomorrow, and in Chon Buri on Wednesday and in Pathum Thani on Thursday.

“We will go to all provinces,” Alongkorn said.

Pheu Thai Party’s spokesman Prompong Nopparit, meanwhile, said Pheu Thai MPs would today have a meeting as they would have an assignment to explain to people why the Amnesty Bill should be passed.

“The Amnesty Bill is based on the principle of forgiving so that the country can move ahead,” he said.

Prompong also attacked the Democrat Party for orchestrating many rallies in the South.

“The tourism season for the South has just begun and relevant entrepreneurs are now worried,” he said.

Week of protests

The Amnesty Bill is now an explosive issue. What will be coming next?

Today (November 4)

9.30am Core members of the Council of University Presidents of Thailand will convene a meeting to plan its next step in regard to its opposition to the Amnesty Bill.

10am Opponents of the bill will converge with Democrat Party leaders in Samsen in Bangkok. Marches are likely.

12.30pm The Business Club for Democracy will organise a rally on the footpath in Silom Road. They plan to blow whistles.

2pm The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking will announce its stance.

2pm The Thai Chamber of Commerce will announce its stance.

3pm Thammasat University will call on the Senate, asking it to reject the Amnesty Bill.

Tomorrow (November 5)

4pm The Chula Network for Morality will hold a rally at Chulalongkorn University to express opposition to the Amnesty Bill.

Wednesday November 6

Lecturers and students from Mahidol University will join the rally at Urupong Intersection.

Thursday November 7

Alumni of Thammasat University will call on the Senate president to express their opposition against the Amnesty Bill.

5pm The Group of 40 Senators will announce their stance against the Amnesty Bill at the Democracy Monument.

Friday November 8

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand will announce its stance.

Saturday November 10

Noon Sombat Boon-ngarm-anong will organise the “10,000 Up” rally at Ratchaprasong Intersection to denounce the Amnesty Bill.

_ People with royal descent will express their stance.

Reds: No blanket amnesty

Posted by Nuttapon_S On October - 25 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Red shirt faction plans rally; aliance warns bill will aid corrupt politicians

RED SUNDAY, a faction of the red-shirt movement, will on Sunday organise a rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection to oppose the revised amnesty bill, its leader Sombat Boonngam-anong said yesterday.

“The rally will send a signal to the Pheu Thai Party about where the people who took part in the political struggle really stand on the amnesty issue,” he said.

Sombat said blanket amnesty, if granted to the political overseers who were in charge of the crackdown on the red-shirt rally at Ratchaprasong in 2010, would in effect deny the reds the legitimacy to continue their political struggle.

He said the red shirts would apply strong pressure on the ruling party to revert back to the original draft sponsored byPheu Thai MP Worachai Hema.

Worachai’s version was designed to provide amnesty to ordinary protesters.

Proponents of blanket amnesty had no justification to cite legal equality as a reason for absolving all individuals involved, because they neglected to address lese majeste offences, he said.

Pramon Sutivong, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, said his group would hold a press conference on Monday at Arnoma Hotel to declare its stance against the amnesty bill, which the group believes will provide blanket amnesty and cover those convicted of corruption.

Among the organisation’s members are prominent business-sector groups such as the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Pramon said. These groups had acknowledged his organisation’s stance and had not opposed it, Pramon said, so he hoped other such alliances would adopt the same stance.

The House ad hoc committee vetting the amnesty bill scheduled sessions yesterday(Thursday) and today to hear from members who disagree with its resolution, and to allow them to present proposals to alter the motion. Their comments would be put in a report, which will be presented to the House session during the second reading of the bill.

Committee chairman Samart Kaew-mechai, from the Pheu Thai Party, said he would not rush the meeting. However, he insisted there would be no extension of the meeting days on which the panel members could speak on altering the motion, and there would be no revision of the resolution the committee decided upon last week.

“The committee made this consideration based on the principle of forgiveness, and according to the Constitution. People who disagree can [propose to] alter the motion and let the House session decide,” he said.

Samart yesterday clarified that the revised amnesty bill would not absolve those tried and convicted for corruption. He said the bill would only apply to criminal offences related to the political mayhem.

Samart intervened to clarify after the Democrats and coalition lawmakers exchanged sharp words during the committee meeting.

The Democrats demanded that the revised bill be clear on two issues – the intention in the annulling the work of the Assets Examination Commission appointed after the 2006 coup, and the assets seizure of former prime ministerThaksin Shinawatra.

Payao Akahad, mother of Kamolket, a paramedic who died in the crackdown in 2010, yesterday submitted a letter to Samart. Her group, which includes relatives of the victims of the crackdown, called on the committee to amend a clause in the bill so that the people who ordered it do not get amnesty.

The group also called on the government to speed up assistance in obtaining bail for people detained during the incident, to delay the passage of the amnesty bill and to hold public hearings on the issue.

She said that unless the group received a response on its request, it would discuss the possibility of staging a rally.

Pheu Thai MP Weng Tojirakarn said he was sceptical that the revised amnesty bill could be enforced so long as coup-related immunity remained intact. Amnesty for those found guilty in coup-sponsored litigation might be voided by Article 309 of the Constitution, which upholds coup-related activities, he said.

He voiced concern that the bill in its revised version might be cancelled by the Constitution Court.

He also said amnesty would not pave way for the homecoming of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The amnesty will backfire by fanning opposition to unconditional absolution, which would, in turn, create unfavourable sentiment for Thaksin,” he said.

Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri played down a National Institute of Develo-pment Administration opinion poll in which a majority of respondents opposed revising the amnesty bill.

Amnesty legislation should be under the purview of lawmakers, who receive their mandate through elections, Chaikasem said.

The relevant parties should allow Parliament to do its job instead of taking to the streets, he said, adding that he was in favour of granting amnesty to all sides involved in the conflict.

While coup-sponsored probes into graft cases could be revived after granting amnesty to those involved, this might not be a good idea because then the absolution would have failed to end the animosity in Thai politics, he said.

Earlier this week, Thaksin told Thai-language daily Post Today he supported the amnesty bill as it would reset relations among all political players.

Thaksin said he was not thinking of his own benefit – being whitewashed under the law and getting his assets back – but the next generation’s.